At the 16th annual IEEE International Interconnect Technology Conference (IITC) 2013, to be held at Kyoto Research Park in Kyoto from June 13 to June 15, interconnect technology destined to play a critical role in future microelectronics will be discussed at a gathering of over 200 of the world's leading researchers and engineers. The conference, sponsored by IEEE Electron Devices Society and technically co-sponsored by The Japan Society of Applied Physics, is the second IITC conference in Japan, following an interval of 4 years.
Renesas Electronics Corp. has announced that it intends to dispose of its lossmaking mobile SoC business, which is part of Renesas Mobile Corp., a wholly owned subsidiary focused on system-on-chip LSIs, either by selling it or in some other way.
Rohm Co., Ltd. has allied with Aichi Steel Corp., a Toyota Motor affiliate, to add MI sensors to its sensor line-up and strengthen its hand in the business. Under the agreement, Aichi Steel will entrust fabrication of MI sensor elements to Rohm, and the partners will jointly develop multi-axis sensors delivering higher performance through the combination of Aichi's MI technology, Rohm's semiconductor fabrication technology and its American subsidiary Kionix Inc.'s MEMS sensor technology. Rohm acquired MEMS specialist Kionix in 2009.
Nichia Corp. has developed a high-power 525nm green laser diode whose optical output power exceeds 1W, about 10 times higher than that of other green lasers announced so far. The high-power solid green laser is expected to fulfill the chip set of three primary colors—red, green and blue.
"Don't worry about shortages of key devices for smartphones!" assures Access Network Technology—a JV established in August by NTT Docomo, Fujitsu and NEC to develop baseband chips for smartphones—that has developed and released its first product, the Cosmos chip. Access Network Technology, which is already supplying Cosmos to Fujitsu for its new Arrows tablet, will offer the chip and subsequent products to mobile phone manufacturers in Japan and overseas. The company is already negotiating with vendors.
Advantest Corp. has revised downward its business forecast for this fiscal year ending next March, citing a stagnant PC market, which curbs demand for memory chip testers, as the culprit.
The Japanese government and major customers will jointly invest over 100 billion yen (US$1.25 billion*) in financially troubled Renesas Electronics Corp. to acquire more than half of the chipmaker's equity, the Nikkei business daily reported on Saturday and other media followed. The ball started rolling last month when KKR & Co. L.P., a US private equity firm, reportedly offered to acquire Renesas. The parties mentioned in the story are declining to comment.
Toshiba Corp. will start manufacturing white LEDs at its discrete-device plant Kaga Toshiba Electronics in October based on the GaN-on-silicon LED technology developed by Bridgelux Inc., which allows use of 8-inch silicon wafers. Taking advantage of high productivity using larger-diameter substrates, Toshiba aims to carve out a double-digit market share within several years despite being a latecomer. Toshiba positions white LEDs as a next-generation growth area in its discrete business, following power devices.
Fujitsu Ltd., NTT Docomo, Inc., NEC Corp. and Fujitsu Semiconductor Ltd. announced that they have agreed to establish a joint venture to develop and market communications chips with built-in modem functions for smartphones.
Bankrupt Elpida Memory, Inc., Japan's sole DRAM manufacturer, on Sunday selected Micron Technology, Inc., from two bidders in the second round that closed last Friday, and will give Micron preferential negotiation rights to purchase Elpida and draw up a rehabilitation plan together with Yukio Sakamoto, Elpida's CEO and president who is the bankruptcy administrator. None of the parties mentioned has announced or confirmed anything, and the media reports cited no sources.
Digital Publishing Initiatives Japan (DPIJ) (trade name: Pubridge) launched on Monday aims to build eBook publishing infrastructure in Japan. The Innovation Network Corporation of Japan (INCJ*), a 90% government-owned fund will invest 15 billion yen (US$188 million**) in the company. Japan's publishers have been slow to embrace digital publishing, but rumors that Amazon will launch a Kindle for the Japanese market has got their attention and stirred them into action.
Fujitsu Ltd., Panasonic Corp. and Renesas Electronics Corp. will merge their system-on-chip LSI operations into a new fabless company and Globalfoundries will purchase Fujitsu's and Renesas' 300mm wafer fabs for a new foundry that it will establish in Japan. Innovation Network Corporation of Japan (INCJ) will invest in these two new companies. The four companies are expected to conclude a basic agreement by March. Globalfoundries also intends to purchase Elpida Memory's Hiroshima fab and turn the memory fab into part of the new SoC foundry. This dramatic story reported this morning by Nikkei, a business daily, has been picked up by media around the world.
The New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization, Japan's largest R&D management organization under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), is now devoting a third of its annual budget of about 150 billion yen (US$1.9 billion*) to projects executed outside Japan.
Tokyo Electric Power Co. announced on Tuesday that it will raise the electricity rate about 17% for volume users from April 1, a move to compensate for the increased fuel cost necessary to generate electricity because its nuclear plants are out of operation. The backlash from industries is strong and some companies are seeking alternative electricity suppliers.
2011 was a ghastly year for Japan's electronics industry. As if the magnitude 9 earthquake in March, accompanied by the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster and consequent power shortages, wasn't enough, companies also had to contend with the Thai floods in October as well as the unprecedented appreciation of the yen not only against the dollar but also against the euro. In their customary New Year messages, chief executives advocated further globalization and renovation but were short on optimism.
With the relentless decline in DRAM prices and the persisting strength of the yen making Elpida Memory's business an uphill struggle, various rumors including a merger with Toshiba or an alliance with Nanya Technology have been flying around Elpida since just before Christmas.
NTT Docomo, Inc. announced today it has reached a basic agreement with five companies—Fujitsu Ltd., Fujitsu Semiconductor Ltd., NEC Corp., Panasonic Mobile Communications Co., Ltd. and Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.—to establish a fabless joint-venture company by the end of March 2012 to develop and sell semiconductors for mobile devices.
, which defined the specification last June, has opened it to the public today. The English version will follow in the future.
The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) has decided to recommend Echonet-Lite as the standard interface for connecting electric appliances and electronic equipment in the home to a home energy management system (HEMS). The
Innovation Network Corporation of Japan (INCJ*), Hitachi, Ltd., Sony Corp. and Toshiba Corp. today signed definitive agreements to integrate their small/mid-sized display businesses into a new company, Japan Display Inc., which will begin operation next spring. Panasonic's LCD plant will also be folded into Japan Display along with those of the three companies. The reorganization of Japan's flat panel industry, underpinned with an investment of 200 billion yen (US$2.6 billion), has taken off.
The Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) and the Museum of Science and Industry (MSI), based in Chicago, have jointly announced Robot Revolution, a 4-year traveling exhibition on contemporary robotics. It is envisaged that the exhibition, which will tour the United States and Japan, will attract at least a million visitors. Eager to raise the profile of Japan's robotic technology in the United States, JETRO has joined forces with the MSI team to select Japanese robots, which will account for a third of the 50 or so robots exhibited.
Along with the reduction of TV production reported last week, Panasonic Corp. plans to shrink its semiconductor business by shedding about 1,000 employees and outsourcing chip fabrication, Nikkei, a business daily, reported.
Flooding in Thailand has hurt manufacturing, including plants of Japanese carmakers and electronics companies, which have been forced to halt operations. Plenty of big names such as Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Sony, Canon and Nikon have stopped manufacturing at their factories in drenched industrial parks. On top of the heavy damage already caused, the supply chain for HDD manufacturing is threatened.
Fearing the semiconductor market has entered a downward spiral, Tokyo Electron Ltd. has drastically revised its business forecast for this fiscal year, cutting the beginning-of-the-year sales forecast by 12% to 640 billion yen (US$8 billion*), which is 5% lower than the result for the previous fiscal year. The figures were fixed after Semicon West through hearings with customers' executives, revealed Tetsuo Tsuneishi, TEL's vice chairman.
As part of the streamlining to eradicate redundant businesses following Sanyo's absorption into the Panasonic Group, Sanyo Electric Co., Ltd. has agreed with Haier Group to transfer its washing machine and home-use refrigerator businesses to the Chinese company.
site. The modules are some of the fruits of NEDO's five-year Next Generation Robot Software Development Project, scheduled for completion next March.
The New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) has posted service robot software modules (robotic technology components) on the
Hitachi, Ltd. has announced the forecast of its business results for this fiscal year: 9.5 trillion yen (US$118.8 billion*) in sales, up 2% from the previous year, operating profit of 400 billion yen, up 11%, and net profit of 280 billion yen, up 8%.
Sony Corp. and Toshiba Corp. are negotiating to merge their small and mid-size LCD operations and establish a new company, which will be supported by government funds, with a view forging ahead with OLED panels, media reported.